Offer praise as often—if not more—as you complain online


Complaining is a natural and understandable response to much of what is posted online (and what exists in the world generally), but if you like a blog post, column, article, or series, let the publisher know. Praise and support are oft-overlooked tools for creating demand for good content and it often goes a longer way than hastily crafted backlash. Decry the bad, of course, but help to expand the market for the good too.

My motivations for underscoring this approach, I should mention, are just a bit selfish. I thought of this advice when someone asked how they could support my work. One can support any blogger, writer, photographer, or reporter by telling those who publish the aforementioned work that said output is found to be meaningful. It helps to remind those outlets that the underscored voices are valuable contributions and that the outlet should support said producers accordingly. A problem with outrage is that it breeds traffic, and traffic is a selling point to advertisers. When we lash out, we inadvertently overlook those who have the most profound impact on us by rewarding those who put us off with traffic and by failing to speak up for those contributions we appreciate.

A reader asked via Facebook if direct correspondence is a more effective means of communication than leaving comments. I would venture to say that yes, this approach to communicating with staff surely resonates more than whatever dwells int he comments section. I can’t speak for everyone who works in the media, but most have learned to ignore comments for the sake of preserving our own sanity. Unfortunately, sane, measured commentary tends to get downed out by the hate, hyperbole and vitriol.

Ps. Admittedly, I am very, very bad at following this advice. Let’s get better at remembering it together.

Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.